Liverpool could be set to be without superstar forward Mohammed Salah for the vast majority of 2020’s pre-season, as well as their opening Premier League clash after Egypt’s under-23 boss announced his intention to recruit the player.
Football in the Olympics is classified as an under 23 competition, but the regulations allow for three players over the age limit to participate as well.
Egypt booked their place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics football event after reaching the final stages of the 2019 U23 Africa Cup of Nations.
The footballing aspect of the global event is scheduled to take place between July 23 and August 8, meaning Salah would miss the bulk of the Reds’ pre-season preparations.
With the league kicking off earlier than usual on August 9 in 2020, his participation in Liverpool’s opening encounter would also be under serious threat.
Egypt under-23 boss Shawky Gharib recently confirmed that national icon Salah is the one player they are dead set on recruiting for the tournament.
“Out of the three senior players we’ll call-up, Salah is the only one we’re settled on so far because he’s simply one of the top three players in the world,” Gharib explained.
“I haven’t talked to Salah at all about him joining the U23 squad for the Olympics, but in all honesty, his participation in the Olympics will need a little effort from him as well.”
The disruption would undoubtedly be met with frustration from boss Jurgen Klopp, with the German expressing his displeasure at his star’s potential absence.
In January, Klopp told reporters (via ThisIsAnfield) that while “The Olympics is a wonderful thing…it would not be too cool.
“I wish we could have whole squad together for pre-season but that is not possible for different reasons.”
With the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations reverting back to it’s traditional winter placement, Klopp could be without Salah twice next year in what is looking increasingly likely will be their first title defence for over 30 years.
Meanwhile, Liverpool’s Anfield expansion plans have gone to a second-stage consultation.
The Premier League leaders are planning to add 7,000 seats to the Anfield Road area of the ground which would lift the stadium’s capacity to 61,000. That would make Anfield the third largest stadium in the Premier League behind Manchester United and Tottenham.